- Bar operator Revolution Bars said its first-half revenue rose 3.4%, assisted by a record Christmas trading period.

Sales for the six months through 28 December rose to £81.2m, up from £78.5m on-year.

For the four weeks to 31 December, like-for-like sales grew 4.0%.

Three under-performing bars, however, were closed in the period at Swansea, Wood Street in Liverpool, and Macclesfield, with the latter's lease surrendered.

Like-for-like sales in the first half rose 1.2%.

Revolution Bars said it expected its underlying earnings to improve in line with market expectations.

In addition, the company said it had exchanged contracts with real estate investment company Aprirose to surrender five leases of loss-making sites.

It had also agreed with Aprirose to re-gear a further four leases with a small net rent reduction, but with a 25-year term.

The transaction was expected to complete in March, on payment by Revolution Bars of a premium equivalent to less than three times the annual trading losses of the five lease surrenders.

'I am delighted with our Christmas trading and the steady improvement in our like-for-like sales performance over the first half is further evidence that our key initiatives are driving both operational and financial improvement,' chief executive Rob Pitcher said.

'Considerable strides have been made in rebuilding customer loyalty and driving sales and profit from the existing estate, creating a stronger business with significant cash generation.'

'Whilst external cost pressures persist, we will continue to manage cautiously, using excess cash to reduce indebtedness below one times EBTIDA before we will consider further expansion opportunities.'

At 9:48am: [LON:RBG] Revolution Bars Group Plc share price was +3.6p at 88.1p

Story provided by